Praise for schools' sport scheme

Contributed by editor on Jan 29, 2009 - 12:00 AM

Howard's Way.... a weekly
column from the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC. MP. 

29 January 2009


The highlight of last Friday was my visit to the
Harvey Grammar School to see some of the work done by the Shepway School
Sport Partnership.

This is part of a national Living for Sport scheme
sponsored by Sky Sports.

The main aim of the scheme is to help those students who are becoming,
or who already are, discouraged from school life.

Those responsible for the scheme believe that sport
can be used to initiate and inspire young people to get the most out of
school life. The initiative is very flexible, giving the schools who
take part the choice over who should be involved, how best to use sport
to engage with them and what the outcome should be.

The Shepway Partnership was established in 2005 following the successful
Sports College bid of the Harvey Grammar School. The Partnership
includes all 35 primary schools, 6 secondary schools and 3 special
schools within Shepway District.

It had much work to do.

In 2005, pupils in Shepway schools were receiving, on average, only 86
minutes of PE a week. Only 51% of schools in Shepway provided two hours
of PE a week for their pupils. Schools tended to provide ‘traditional’
sports, with little opportunity to try different areas of need.

Now 89% of pupils in Shepway are receiving two hours of PE every week –
4% above the national average. A record number of schools have received
the ‘Active Mark’ award. The Partnership received the “2007 Youth Sport
Trust Innovations Award” for the design of its website. And, not
surprisingly in view of these achievements, the partnership has been
recognised as a ‘High Performing School Sport Partnership – a 2012

Crucially, the children who have taken part in the programme have
benefitted. Pupil attendance and punctuality have improved, the
behaviour of pupils at lunchtimes is better and concentration and
readiness to learn have been enhanced.

Much of this is due to the enthusiasm and dedication of Penny Matkin.
Our thanks and congratulations are due to her and the rest of the team.
Yet another heart warming example of how people can make a difference.